Free help to start conversation about aging with senior loved ones

During the holiday season, it’s a good time to remind families of the importance of having conversations about aging with older loved ones and consider whether they need additional care or services to age well.

The Senior LinkAge Line is a free statewide information service that makes it easier for seniors and their families to find the information and help they need. The Senior LinkAge Line is provided by six area agencies on aging that cover all 87 counties of Minnesota, helping people connect with resources in their communities.

The Senior LinkAge Line was first established by the Minnesota Board on Aging in 1994 and ever since it has provided long-term care options counseling, prescription drug expense assistance, caregiver planning and more.

Krista Boston, Director of Consumer Assistance Programs at the Minnesota Board on Aging.

“I love what we do; I can see myself doing this until I retire – and need help myself,” says Krista Boston, Director of Consumer Assistance Programs at the Minnesota Board on Aging, who first started working at the Senior LinkAge line in 1998. “One of the things we’ve always prided ourselves on is that we are always striving to make sure the person gets to the next leg of their journey. We’re really known for our customer service.”

When asked about how to start a conversation with family members who may need to consider additional care or services, Boston acknowledged that it can be difficult. She recommends that families who notice their loved ones struggling should put themselves in that person’s shoes to see where they’re coming from and to plan for the best way to approach them. She also recommends having conversations with other family members who will be involved in any decisions in advance.

“The worst time for the conversation is in a crisis situation and when it’s forced,” says Boston. “Start the conversation naturally and have a plan with everyone on the same page. Sometimes it’s difficult, but do your best and of course call the Senior LinkAge Line for assistance.”

In 2016, there were 272,435 contacts made to the Senior LinkAge Line and 94 percent of people who used the Senior LinkAge Line would recommend it to a friend. “(People) really should start by calling when they’re 65 and they are eligible for Medicare,” says Boston.

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